Cow Power project breaks ground

Thursday, August 05, 2010

From a news release issued by Governor Doyle:

WAUNAKEE – Governor Jim Doyle today broke ground on a $12 million community digester project that will help clean Dane County air and lakes, and generate enough clean energy to power 2,500 homes. Governor Doyle joined Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk for the groundbreaking of the “Cow Power” project at the Ripp’s Dairy Valley farm in Waunakee.

“The Dane County Digester demonstrates the best of our past and future in agriculture – putting to work three local farms to power our homes and clean our environment,” Governor Doyle said.

"With the turn of these forks today, we begin new, exciting work to clean up our lakes and turn a big problem into a valuable commodity," County Executive Kathleen Falk said. "Thanks to the help of the Governor, the courage and willingness of these farmers to be good stewards of the lakes and lands we love, and the ingenuity of Clear Horizons, we're pioneering an innovative solution to generate green energy and curtail an environmental problem."

In March 2009, Governor Doyle announced his support for the project. The state is providing $3.3 million in assistance for the first of two Dane County Digesters. The community digester is the first of its kind in the state – involving three family farms: Ripp’s Dairy Valley, White Gold Dairy and Richard Endres Farm.

Construction is expected to be completed later this year. Once operational, the facility will convert manure from the farms into nearly $2 million worth of electricity per year. Electricity generated by the digester will be enough to run 2,500 Dane County homes annually.

The community digester will create construction jobs and full-time jobs to run the digester. The project will also help local farms expand their operations.